Sacred Time for Research
The Proctors are a three-generation University of California family. In 1962, Chris’s father received his master’s in psychology at UC Santa Barbara. Julie and Chris met at UCLA, where they both studied neurobiology. Their twins Connor (UCLA ’16) and Will (UCI ’15, now a UCSB employee) followed the family tradition, as did Duncan (UCSB ’17). Duncan was drawn to the College of Creative Studies (CCS), a small college for self-directed students within UC Santa Barbara that provides a rigorous program that facilitates original undergraduate work.
The Proctors understood the impact of summer fellowships after Duncan’s graduation, when they attended the inaugural Research and Creative Activities Conference (RACA-CON) in the fall of 2018. “RACA-CON inspired us to give by establishing an endowment in support of summer fellowships,” said Julie. “We heard music; we saw paintings. There were posters and podium presentations. All the students were so excited.”
The College of Creative Studies launched its 50th anniversary celebration in 2017 and brought together CCS students to showcase their undergraduate work. At the conference, students including Dolev Bluvstein ’19 displayed graduate-level research. Under Professor Ania Jayich, Dolev worked on a quantum microscope capable of viewing single atoms. Through his summer undergraduate research fellowship, Dolev published findings in the journal Nature Communications.
“Summer is sacred time for research,” said Dolev. “Two weeks of 20 hours a week is not the same as one week of 40 hours. If you don’t have time, no one will give you serious responsibility.”
“We saw that summer research programs can be transformative for the kids,” said Chris. “It gives them a hands-on opportunity to be mentored by world-class researchers and find a career path.”
Chris knows his family’s lives also have been transformed. “It enriches your life tremendously to be part of this.”